Tanisha C. Ford

Tanisha Ford faculty

Research Interests

  • African American History
  • African Diaspora
  • 20th Century U.S., Women's and Gender History
  • Cultural History


  • Ph.D., Indiana University-Bloomington

Tanisha C. Ford is an award-winning historian and cultural theorist whose work centers on social movement history, feminist issues, material culture, the built environment, migration, black life in the Rust Belt, girlhood studies, fashion & body politics, and the craft of memoir. Her scholarship has been published in the Journal of Southern HistoryNKA: Journal of Contemporary African Artthe Black Scholar, and QED: A Journal in GLBTQ Worldmaking. Ford writes regularly for public audiences — with feature stories, cultural criticism, and profiles in: the Atlantic, the New York Times, ElleApertureBitchThe Feminist Wire, and the Root. Her research has been supported by the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Ford Foundation, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, among others. She is a co-founder of TEXTURES, a pop-up material culture lab creating and curating content on bodies and the built environment. 
Ford is currently working on a new book, tentatively titled Our Secret Society: America's Forgotten Black Powerbrokers, which examines how and why black women raised millions of dollars for various Black Freedom movement organizations and causes by hosting galas, garden parties, fashion shows, and beauty pageants. For more information, visit her website: www.tanishacford.com



Dressed-in-Dreams-book-jacket Tanisha Ford
  • Dressed in Dreams: A Black Girl’s Love Letter to the Power of Fashion (St. Martins, June 2019)

Black-is-Beautiful-Dust-Jacket_front Tanisha Ford


  • Kwame Brathwaite: Black is Beautiful (Aperture, May 2019)


  • Liberated Threads: Black Women, Style, and the Global Politics of Soul (UNC Press, 2015)
Liberated Threads: Black Women, Style, and the Global Politics of Soul  book Tanisha Ford